Sunday, June 08, 2014

Pressure to raise salaries for county jailers

Competition is driving up labor costs at county jails as well as state prisons. In the next budget cycle,  according to the Abilene Reporter-News, Taylor County commissioners will likely boost jailers' pay to attract more applicants for entry-level guard spots:
Those in the county’s “public safety” matrix whose current salary is less than $30,000 will be brought up to that amount.

The decision, primarily designed to both attract new employees to the jail and help with retention of those already employed, will draw from unspent salary and — if needed — contingency funds.

“We’re having trouble retaining people because they’re going elsewhere for higher salaries,” said Sheriff Ricky Bishop after the meeting, who said he hoped that the increase would make a difference in both retention and hiring.

The starting salary for a new jailer was $27,000, a recent salary increase over the $25,300 previously paid. Commissioners said Tuesday that $30,250 is the average salary for a jailer in four counties — Tom Green, Lubbock, Brazos and Wichita — comparable to Taylor.

Chief Jail Administrator Terrie Noret told commissioners Tuesday that the jail is down 15 employees, with two set to transfer to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department. Employees typically work in the jail before taking on patrol duties.
So if the county is lucky, higher wages will help them fill 15 positions that presently aren't drawing a salary, adding half a million or so to Taylor's jail budget. Don't hire them, and you rack up overtime while contributed to low morale and a dispirited, overworked staff. It's a less-government conservative's nightmare.


rodsmith said...

Let me guess the price of smuggling in cell phones and other contraband falling?

Anonymous said...

I recently completed 200 hours of community service. I was surprised at how many of my fellow probationers wanted to be jailers or prison guards.